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The Way Home - The Link's eNewsletter

Dear Readers:

As we really get into the new year swing of things, many of you may be beginning homeschooling, having removed your children from school during the semester break. We strive to bring you the best information we can, whether new to homeschooling or a seasoned veteran, we want to remind you that our numbers are growing all over the country. . . you are not alone.

In this issue we offer two articles by long-experienced homeschooling parents who are also professionals in the field of education. First is Andrew Pudewa, director of the Institute for Excellence in Writing , "Imitation -- A Common Sense Approach" to aid junior high and high school creative writing issues. Secondly, Catherine Levison, an expert in the Charlotte Mason Method, offers "Nature Study" which informs about Ms. Mason's belief in using Nature as a teaching tool. We hope these articles enrich your lives and please e-mail me if you have questions, suggestions or comments at Michael@homeschoolmagazine.com. Please visit our websites, HomeschoolNewsLink, HomeschoolMagazine and CaliforniaHomeschoolingToday; patronize our advertisers and, as always, thank you for reading our publications.

Michael Leppert

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Developing Emotional Intelligence - Two Great Books To Help You Help Your Child (and Yourself!)
Assessed by Michael Leppert

(See 10% discount information for our readers at end of article.)

(1) Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and Your Child -- 8 Proven Skills To Increase Your Child's Emotional Intelligence - 354 pages, soft cover

(2) EQ and Your Adolescent 11-15- Years Old- 366 pages, soft cover

"Emotional Intelligence" or "EQ" is a term we are hearing very often in the field of personal psychology and self-improvement.Thirty-year professional Eileen Healy defines it as: "A person's ability to recognize one's own emotions and those of others and to respond appropriately to those emotions." She goes on to say that if you are an emotionally intelligent person, you can tell the difference between feeling angry and feeling disappointed, for instance, and how to deal with these two different emotions in a positive and self-nurturing manner. Having a high EQ can enable you to thrive and get along in the uncertain world of today with a minimum of struggle.

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Emotional Intelligence

My Pet Chicken

Imitation: A Common Sense Approach to "Creative" Writing
By Andrew Pudewa

As in many areas of education, the "skill" of writing has been elevated to the status of "art," which it rightfully should be. However, this has often been to the detriment of children. Equating "good" with "creative" and "creative" with "good," many teachers, schools and curriculum publishers have taken an approach to teaching which more or less follows a "hands off" method of instruction. They seek to allow children to "express" themselves on paper without interfering with their freedom and creativity. Although well-intentioned, the "non-instruction" which results from this approach has little chance of helping the child develop confidence and competence in writing, proving particularly unhelpful for the reluctant writer, who most desperately needs to learn basic skills.

In a typical junior high school classroom, it is not uncommon to see students writing in their "journals," with teachers obediently respecting their "right" to write whatever they wish without criticism or correction; but what is the result of this? Arguably, it is a valuable activity to "freely" express ideas in words on paper, but one must again ask, what are the students really learning? Is this truly the best use of their time during those important formative years?

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Press For Learning
Continental Academy

Lennon Leppert

Independent Study High School - Online, accredited, university-based high school
By Jennifer Nairne

While politicians and policy-makers debate the current condition of public education in the United States, "we the people" are left to fend for ourselves. And for parents of high schoolers, this is an immediate crisis - not some abstract exercise in political philosophy. How can a child get into college if the classes needed arenít even being offered at the local school? Every child deserves the opportunity to realize their fullest potential and become the productive citizens we need to keep our country moving forward.

And although families participating in alternative schooling and homeschool can offer their children learning opportunities that their peers in public schools cannot even imagine as part of their curriculum,college admission boards remain wedded to the traditional public school format. Many homeschool families have reported their misguided, though well-intentioned, attempts at preparing their student, and their often sadhorror stories of the biased college admissions process.

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University of Nebraska

College for Homeschoolers

Charlotte Mason Education - Nature Study
By Catherine Levison

Charlotte Mason wrote extensively on various educational philosophies and she held to an unusual emphasis of taking children outside every day to be in direct contact with nature. She really means every day, and she lived with the less-than-perfect weather of England. The objective is to help the child learn to be observant. The parent can relax, sit on a blanket, bring a project or a book along, and make this a leisurely outing, casually point out scenery around your children. Charlotte suggests we ask them "Who can see the most and tell the most about . . ." any plants, insects, or anything nearby. This appears to be a form of narration to me. With as little talking as possible and absolutely no lecturing, attempt to have them notice the geography of the area, the position of the sun, the weather, and the clouds.

In order to foster the power of observation you need to take your children to places where they will find things worth observing. Charlotte wanted children to have beautiful memories of their childhood stored for their old age and thought too many of us have blurry memories due to the fact we did not slow down and really look at things. To remedy this, she suggests that on rare occasions we have the child take a mental photograph of some scenic landscape. Have the child look, then shut their eyes and describe the scene. If it is too blurry in their minds, have them open their eyes, look again, and make a second attempt.

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Barchowsky Handwriting
Literacy Unlimited

Nature Bridge

Mayan Unit Study
By Michael Leppert

The Mayans were, by our Western standards, one of the most advanced native peoples that ever lived. We hear of the Egyptians and their building skills and advanced culture, but until recently, seldom have we heard of the Mayans in this light. They werea fascinating and mysterious people who achieved far more in the realms of math and science than the Egyptians - and were expert builders in their own right. One Mayan structure, The Pyramid of the Sun, has a base as large as the Great Pyramid of Giza!

The ancient Mayans lived in the Yucatan Peninsula area of what is now Mexico and southward to the Central American countries of Guatemala, British Honduras, and portions of Hondurasand El Salvador. Their kingdomís first period lasted from 1000 B.C. to 900 A.D. This period was lived in the tropical rain forests of the area and included building large pyramids and well-planned communities with other structures where the people lived and worked. These cities were mysteriously abandoned and the Mayans moved north into what is now Mexico and mingled with the Native Peoples there for second Mayan period, which lasted from 900 A.D. to 1500 A.D., when the Spanish defeated them.

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Design a Study

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